John Coltrane symposium

The John Coltrane Symposium & Sun Ra’s Arkestra

The now annual John Coltrane Symposium is back to celebrate the birthday and genius of Coltrane with a September 23-25 affair in the Woodlands.

Two of adventurous jazz’s most iconic one-time Philadelphians, John Coltrane and Sun Ra – both with famous houses in this city in need of repair and tender loving care – get their roses this week, courtesy Ars Nova Workshop and his most concerned avant-Philly friends and fans base. Coordinated by founder Dr. Anyabwile Love, the John Coltrane Symposium, in collaboration with Ars Nova Workshop, The Woodlands and the Discovery Center. On September 23, Coltrane’s 95th birthday will be hailed at the reservoir of The Discovery Center in Fairmount Park, with a musical procession, and performances by trombonist Brent White and pianist Farid Barron.

John Coltrane symposium

On September 24, the Woodlands welcomes Esquire’s “Chef of the Year” Omar Tate and his Honeysuckle Project for a four-course culinary vision “informed by his admiration of John Coltrane’s music, diet, and philosophies.” Tate knows his jazz like he knows his food, so this should be awesome and inspiring. The Second Annual John Coltrane Symposium closes out with moderated panel discussions, a dramatic reading, music, and more on September 25.

By the way, the Philadelphia Jazz Project also jumps in on the Coltrane b-day celebration by dropping three JC mixtapes recorded during its 2019 “Celebrate Coltrane” concerts with pianist Alfie Pollitt, saxophonist Willie Williams, House/Techno programmer Worldtown Soundsystem with guest saxophonists Elliott Levin and Victor North playing the sounds and scores of the saxophone titan.

Just as things are winding down on the Coltrane multi-day affair, Ars Nova works out – on September 26, at 4 pm at Awbury Arboretum (1 Awbury Road, Philly) – a late afternoon intergalactic soiree with the Sun Ra Arkestra at play in the fields of the Lord. Space is the place. Amen.

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